Nothing succeeds like success, and when failure isnai??i??t an option, the pressure to perform reaches its zenith. It isnai??i??t easy living with a shadow over your head, with a chip on your shoulder, but the modern day football manager is expected not only to perform under such strenuous demands but deliver week in and week out.

Few good men ala Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger manage to stem the flow and actually thrive on such unrealistic worldly aspirations. However, with the growing impatience of those associated with a football club and the tabloid nature of the press, there might never again be a 25 year celebration at any club ever again. Itai??i??s just where the game seems to be headed towards, cut throat and excessively unforgiving. Ai??Room for concern, surely; panic perhaps.

Will their longevity ever be achieved again?

In todayai??i??s world, the manager is under immense pressure from the moment he takes charge of the club due to the excessively high stakes associated with each and every result. The revenue model in the modern day football is such that with every drop in position in the league table, the club can lose a lot of money. And on top of that, if the club is relegated, the money lost reaches humongous proportions.

Therefore, the managers, especially who are in charge of the so called lesser clubs, have to beAi??focusedAi??on their job from the very first day they are hired by the club. With every increment in the losses column, the media focus on the man in-charge increases with the tabloids invariantly calling for the manager to be sacked. Sadly, more often than not, itai??i??s the media that succeeds.

One thing which the media fails to understand, or to put it in a better way, does not try to understand is the work done by the manager behind the scenes and there is no better example to prove this than the man himself ai??i?? Sir Alex Ferguson. With United going through a horrendous patch in 1989, the vultures were out calling for Fergieai??i??s head and that pressure passed on to the fans as well who publicly demanded the sacking of the great Scot.

But what the media failed to understand was the work done by Fergie to strengthen the roots of the club. The drinking culture in the squad had gone, the club was being run in a more professional way and the most important thing was that Ferige was building a team for the future by making significant improvements in the scouting system and the youth academy. The duty of the media should have been to highlight these facts rather than putting pressure on the manager by focusing on few bad results.

Also, the media tend to neglect the outside factors that can govern a managerai??i??s way to run a certain club. It is easy for the experts to come out and say, ai???The manager has got to spend the moneyai???, or ai???He has to buy a certain playerai??? but it might very well be the case that the manager does not have the funds available from the owners. Rarely does a manager come out and say that he is not provided the money by the owners. We have heard managers like Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson give excuses such as there is no value in the market, but there can be a whole lot going on in terms of finances without anybody actually knowing it.

There are certain cases where the manager wants to buy a certain player, but is not given support by the top management. The classic case of this is the denial of funds by Perez and Real Madrid to Carlos Queiroz to buy defensive players. With the club overflowing with attacking talent, the Galacticos needed a world class defender to fix the leaky defence. However, the top management did not provide the funds to Queiroz and instead fired him at the end of the season for not delivering the results.

Perez’s defender-less Galacticos

In the past, clubs have treated the managers in a shambolic way with Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton being prime examples. The latter had led Newcastle United back into the Premiership by securing top spot in the Championship and had done rather well in the first three months in the top flight securing the clubai??i??s first win over Arsenal in five years and a derby day mauling of Sunderland. However, it was not enough as he was sacked by the club which stated, ai???An individual with more managerial experience [was] needed to take the club forwardai??? which came as a surprise to media and fans alike considering the great job done by Hughton.

Then there are clubs like Chelsea, for whom winning trophies is the first and foremost criteria to measure a managerai??i??s success. Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Chelsea for finishing second in the league discounting his previous seasonai??i??s endeavours when he led the club to achieve its first ever double. Ai??Even the Special One was not spared, nor was Avram Grant, whoAi??came within a kick of helping the London club secure the holy grail.

Real Madrid goes one step further than the English giants as they demand trophies as well as free-flowing attacking football from their managers. Managers such as Vicente Del Bosque and Fabio Capello have been sacked even after winning the league for not playing the brand of football demanded by the club. On the other hand, Manuel Pellegrini was removed even after achieving most number of points by Real Madrid in any league season. Madrid played brilliant football under the Chilean, but only came second to Barcelona who are labelled as the best club side to have played the game.

Another problem for the managers in todayai??i??s environment is the playersai??i?? decrease in respect for them and that is mainly down to the high attrition rate. The player power has been growing by the day owing to the enormous salaries paid to them and their star values in the eyes of the fans. There have been innumerable cases where the players have publicly questioned their managers particularly if the manager is under immense pressure or has been recently hired by the club.

Roy Hodgson was a victim in one such instance when his decisions and methods were questioned by his Liverpool players openly. But since the Englishman was already under immense pressure from the fans and the media, the players were left unpunished for demeaning their manager and in the end Hodgson was sacked just six months after being appointed as the Liverpool manager.

Hodgson had limited time

In another incident, Roy Keane, while he was at United, questioned his managerai??i??s squad in 2005 and to some extent rightly so. However, in that case the manager was Sir Alex Ferguson who was arguably the most respectable manager in the game. The fans were behind the manager and Keane parted way from the club two weeks after his rant. In retrospect, had there been a weaker manager, things could have turned out to be a lot different given the class and legendary status of Roy Keane. Another manager would have been put under a lot of pressure by the media and the fans and it could very well have been the case that the manager was sacked and Keane remained the captain of the club.

Having said that there are certain cases where the club actually doesnai??i??t have a choice but to sack the manager. However, these cases are very few and far between and the game needs some stringent measures to stop clubs treating the managers in an ill-fashioned way. One thing which could be a solution to the problem is a strong League Managerai??i??s Association (LMA).

It is time that the LMA stands up and be counted for its own members. Stringer contracts rules need to be enforced with compensation sums increased to the extent that it actually hurt the owners of the clubs. Also, the LMA should help the manager get his due compensation as and when he is sacked by a particular club and unless and until the payment is made, no manager shall be allowed to take in charge of that club. This could be useful in a way that clubs are more thoughtful in hiring and sacking of a manager which, in the end, is what everybody from the players to the supporters to the managers want to see.

However, that day might never arrive as there are too many managers out of job on any given day and are eager to pounce on any opportunity that arrive from the sacking of their fellow manager. Although there is a manager yet to be sacked in the Premier League this season, it might not be very late before the merry-go-round of the managers gets going.

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One Response to “Gone Are The Days Of Ferguson And Wenger, Today’s World Is Not For Managers”

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  1. Dogzenkatz says:

    Roy Hodgson was a very poor example to use. You should have cited Rafa Benitez instead. I agree with everything else though. Alot of fans, owners included, demand instant success. Wenger introduced a new model that did precisely that during his first few seasons, and other clubs have since caught up and fans often forget about these other clubs, like how Pellegrini was shown the door. Fergie did take 7 seasons to get where he wanted to and has subsequently had 18 seasons to continuously refine his squad. It would be a miracle if modern managers are given more than 2 seasons if they fail to win anything, despite improving a squad. I’m sure Kenny or Fergie would be happy to be succeeded by Andre Villas Boas for the long haul, but Roman Abramovich will not see it that way and will probably offload him by the end of next season if he fails to win the Champions League.

    As to why Hodgson was a poor case to cite, he is a mid-table manager at best and will not improve a superior squad with higher aspirations. While Kenny has only won marginally more than Hodgson this number of games into the season, he has lost significantly less. Both attacking and defensive stats for Liverpool have bettered tremendously. It is only the results that haven’t been forthcoming. It typically takes just 20 wins out of 38 games to qualify for Champions League football. 27 to 28 victories are often enough to win the league, and even Fergie has never managed 29! Only Mourinho and Dalglish have managed that feat, and for Dalglish, it was out of 40 games, and it was with Blackburn, who are almost certain to be relegated end of this season. The win ratios come end of the season will always be quite tight, but his 3 game stint at Inter aside, Woy has never bettered a lower 40something percent win ratio anywhere else. However, Woy has been very consistent and his win ratio is enough to guarantee Premiership survival and the players at Liverpool are far above survival class. I dare say that Liverpool matches United for player quality and exceeds United in terms of general performance, but the key difference is United knows how to win regardless of performance. That is why they are always up there, and as this article suggests, it is full credit to Fergie. For the record, Liverpool concedes the least shots on target despite Newcastle conceding less goals, and Liverpool creates the 3rd most goalscoring opportunites after City and Chelsea. United isn’t even in the top 5 in terms of creativity, but United has indeed scored twice what Liverpool has. Using, Norwich at home as a benchmark, Liverpool dominated but could only manage a draw, United were totally outplayed by them and yet still won.